Cancer Center at FMC adds technologically advanced radiation therapies to stay on forefront of cancer treatment options

May 24, 2013

The Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare are taking their cancer-fighting technology to a higher level. Progressive, state-of- the-art technology upgrades and renovations are underway at the Flagstaff Campus, located at Flagstaff Medical Center.

During the upgrade and renovation process, the Cancer Center will continue to provide the full range of cancer services including radiation, medical oncology (chemotherapy), support groups and more. While the new technologically advanced equipment is being installed, radiation oncology patients will receive their treatments at the Cancer Center in Sedona.

For patient convenience during the renovation, there will be a van service offering transportation to provide minimal disruption and convenience for oncology patients. Lodging in Sedona is available upon request. New patients still are being accepted for all services and follow-up physician appointments will still be available at the campus. The renovation process is expected to be complete by October 2013.

The sophisticated technologies being installed are the RapidArc™ radiotherapy linear accelerator and the BrainLAB Stereotactic Radiosurgery system to treat brain tumors. 

The RapidArc™ radiotherapy system is a new approach to image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IGRT/IMRT). The RapidArc delivers precise treatments in one-half to one-eighth that of conventional radiation therapy. Computer-generated images plan and deliver the radiation dose. In a single 360-degree rotation, the linear accelerator revolves around the patient, delivering a sculpted, tightly focused beam of radiation directly to a tumor in less than two minutes.

During treatment, the beam is continually shaped and modulated to conform to the shape of the tumor. Treatment also can be delivered from nearly any angle. This results in better tumor targeting and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue. It also reduces the amount of time a patient spends in radiation treatment, which usually is administered five days a week for several weeks.

The BrainLAB Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) system is used to treat cancers of the brain as well as other areas of the body which require a high degree of precision. Despite its name, stereotactic radiosurgery is not surgery. It is a nonsurgical, highly precise form of radiation therapy, so named because it carries the advantages of surgery without being invasive.

The BrainLAB SRS system delivers a single dose of precisely targeted radiation that is directed at the cancerous lesion(s). The treatment, which typically is delivered in one session and takes approximately 30 minutes, is able to reach tumors deep inside the body without the risks of surgery. In addition, this technology helps to reduce radiation exposure to healthy tissue, which is especially important for areas like the brain and lungs.

The Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare are located in Flagstaff and Sedona and are devoted to the comprehensive treatment and early diagnosis of cancer through advanced technology and individualized care. For more information on the Cancer Centers, call 928-773-2261 or visit